France/Auxerre

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Question
Hi there

In June 13 I hope to revisit Auxerre for a couple of days and then travel to Dompierre-sur-besbre to pick up a canal boat with our group of 6. It appears (DB Bahn site) that there is a train but it takes up to 7 hours and very indirect. Not sure if there are buses as an alternative and maybe more direct. Can you advise me please of your thoughts on the best way to get between these towns.

thank you Ian

Answer
Hi . . .    Ian Oakley from Western Australia!

Your question has come up many times in the past.  I wish there was one quick, simple answer.  Sadly, however, there is not an easy answer.  

As noted below, train service can very good in France, but it does not reach many rural areas and small towns.  And, in general, bus service can be fairly marginal.  My strong suggestion is to ask the people with whom you have book such a canal boat trip to solve "their" problem by departing from locations that are not ideally handy.   Get their suggestions.   Put the burden back on them!!!  

Potentially doing a rental car might be one option.   

Are you flexible on your budget?  How many are in your group?  What have been your past Europe and France travel experiences?

Reactions to these various ideas and options????  Look forward to hearing back from you with more details and specifics.

Does this start to help a little? What are your needs for added information?  Be happy to provide additional info and answer other questions after learning more from you.  Be sure to complete the evaluation section so that our "bosses" on this volunteer service know we are working hard to make inquiring minds as happy as possible. ENJOY!  Merci Beaucoup!

Thanks.  Terry Casey in Columbus, Ohio


RAIL vs. BUS vs. AUTO REALITIES: In France, overall, the trains are great, especially along certain key routes with the fast and comfortable TGV Express train service.  Between Paris and Avignon, it is only a two hour and 35-40 minute trip that zooms this route by traveling up to 199 mph.  On other TGV routes, the top speed is around 186 mph.   These super nice and fine TGV trains are not, however, on all or most routes, nor to all cities.  For other routes, mostly between larger cities, the service can be good to very good.  BUT, in many rural areas and to connect among various smaller village and country areas, rail service is not available and/or fairly slow or limited.  There might be several train changes needed to cover some routings.  There is "some" bus service in France, but it is done by many different private companies and it does not have a centralize website, nor fast, frequent service.  Because elements of the rail service are so good, it has made it harder to have equally good and frequent bus service in most parts of France.  

To be more efficient with your limited time, some combination of rail and car can be better to cover and reach many of the villages, country and rural areas.  

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Terry Casey

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Most experienced for Paris, Loire Valley, Provence, Dordogne, Alsace, Burgundy, Normandy and Reims/Champagne Country. Terry likes helping travelers get trip "flow and pacing" right so your adventure is neither . . . a bore, NOR a blur! Make sure your timing works, fitting your interests, tastes, personal experiences and needs. Terry has planned and done great trips to the Baltics, Russia, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Ireland, England, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Norway, Turkey and Switzerland, plus South America and Cuba. Did wonderful April, 2007, week in Paris, summer 2008 southern England trip, summer 2010 fjords/North Cape, Norway coast, etc. Has visited twenty=two different countries in Europe. You can check out our Norway coast/fjords adventure with lots of great pictures from last summer at: www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923 This live/blog has gotten nearly 52,000 views. For Villefranche, ports in Italy and along the the Croatian coast, you can check this live/blog. We are now at 42,762 views here. www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474 France is great, but these other parts of the Europe are wonderful, too!!!

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There is much post 9-11-2001 worry about travel to Europe, but all reports and experiences say things are fine, with proper care and planning. From wide travels in many parts of Europe in 2005- 2008, my personal experiences are that things are good there and reasonably behaving Americans are treated well. See, enjoy the world and experience its great diversity! I have visited 20 countries in Europe and know that there's lots there to see and do. PROVIDE KEY BACKGROUND INFORMATION with QUESTION: To help me answer your questions better, please provide some info on your past France/Europe travel experiences, ages, general budget range, personal travel style/interests, number in your party, what you most want to enjoy and see, etc.

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Ohio State University grad

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